Volume 4, Issue 1 , February-March 2000

In this issue:

Commission for Social Development Gears Up for Copenhagen Review
Security Issues Continue to Take Centre Stage in Africa Recovery Debate
Information Technology Tops ECOSOC 2000 Agenda
Financing for Development Considered Against Backdrop of Globalization and Interdependence
Commission on the Status of Women Prepares for Beijing+5
Forthcoming Meetings
Technical Cooperation
Sustainable Development , Women , Statistics , Public Administration
Forthcoming Publications
Women
Recent Publications
Statistics , Public Administration ,
Meetings Held
New on the Web

Commission for Social Development Gears Up for Copenhagen Review

The 38th session of the Commission for Social Development opens on Tuesday, 8 February 2000, at UN Headquarters. This session, scheduled for eight working days, will be the last one before the Special Session of the General Assembly to follow-up on the Copenhagen World Summit for Social Development meets in Geneva in late June.

In its sessions since the Copenhagen Summit, the Commission has debated topics on which the Summit made recommendations for action, forging consensus on how to advance the Copenhagen agenda in specific areas and seeking new ways to encourage and support implementation.

In this period, the Commission has experimented with ways of bringing new voices and experiences (particularly younger and developing country voices) to its deliberations, through expert meetings in preparing for its sessions, and panels to enliven the sessions themselves.

At its 38th session, the Commission will devote most of its time to the review and appraisal of the implementation of the Copenhagen Programme of Action. The text, to be finalized at the Commission, will be its specific contribution to the draft output of the Geneva Special Session. Negotiating the text to its present state has proved no easy task and much remains to be done.

To assist the Commission and publicize efforts by the many actors in social development, the Division for Social Policy and Development has prepared a comprehensive report on what countries have achieved, or sought to implement, in breathing life into the Copenhagen agenda. This report has required a major effort by many - drawing on Governments' national reports, as well as on other sources, including regional and international bodies within and outside the UN system (E/CN.5/2000/2) .

Two other key topics of traditional concern to the Commission are expected to get attention.

Last year, 1999, was the International Year of Older Persons and the Commission will consider a follow-up to it. It will have before it a proposal to convene a second world assembly on ageing - 20 years after the history-making first assembly, held in Vienna in 1982. It then adopted the International Programme of Action on Ageing, still recognized as a landmark document on the subject. A special segment of the Commission's programme will be devoted to the topic.

Also on the agenda is a personal appearance by the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Disability, Bengt Lindqvist, and presentation of his report, marking the end of his second term . Much travelled Mr. Lindqvist, formerly Swedish Minister of Social Affairs and himself blind, has taken the message of the UN Standard Rules for the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities to all corners, especially to developing countries. The Commission will review suggestions, and make recommendations, on how the Special Rapporteur's activities may be followed up and enhanced.

In a related event, Mr. Desai, told the Council of Europe's Conference on Social Development in Dublin in January that there is a "crisis of legitimacy about globalization", and that the follow-up session on the 1995 World Summit for Social Development this June will be "a rare opportunity" to refocus the management of globalization, so that everyone benefits.

Mr. Desai said that the overarching theme of the United Nations General Assembly special session on the Social Summit, which will be held in Geneva from 26-30 June 2000, "must be to put social justice at the heart of the global political agenda."

Contact: Andrzej Krassowski, Tel. (212) 963-6901, E-mail: krassowski@un.org

The website of the Social Summit follow-up is at: http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/geneva2000/index.html


Security Issues Continue to Take Centre Stage in Africa Recovery Debate

The General Assembly adopted resolution 54/234 following its 8 December discussion on the implementation of the recommendations of the SG's report on Africa, which had, among other things, highlighted the problems of the proliferation of small arms and the impact of AIDS in the continent. The resolution welcomed the agreed conclusions adopted by ECOSOC at its substantive session in 1999, stressed the importance of the final review of the UN-NADAF in 2002, and requested the President of the General Assembly to establish an open-ended ad-hoc working group to monitor the implementation of the recommendations made by the Secretary General in his report to the Security Council and General Assembly, on the causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa (A/52/871-S/1998/318).

The report was notable for its comprehensive discussion of both political and economic and social aspects. The Office of the Special Coordinator for Africa and the Least Developed Countries coordinated economic and social inputs and is backstopping the Office of the Deputy Secretary-General on follow-up.

AIDS also featured prominently in the Security Council discussion on Africa in January, as did the situation of refugees and displaced persons and conflicts in Burundi, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Security Council regarded AIDS to be a security issue, given the extent to which it is undermining economies and depleting human resources. The President of the Security Council has now asked the Economic and Social Council to collaborate on follow-up to deal with the epidemic.

The international assistance requirements of internally displaced persons, who were not covered by provisions for assistance to refugees, was another issue highlighted, as was the impact of refugees on LDCs. While there was no resolution on Angola, former UNITA fighters testified, on videotape, that the downing of a UN plane had been ordered by UNITA leadership.

A Security Council resolution on Burundi (S/RES/1286), following a meeting attended by former South African President Mandela, called on neighboring countries to deny passage to combatants and arms, and urges the international community to examine the economic needs of Burundi, with a view to establish stable long-term conditions for the wellbeing of the Burundian people and the return of refugees. The meeting on the Democratic Republic of Congo, which was attended by seven Heads of States, called for the support, by all parties, of the Lusaka Agreement as well as for the establishment of a UN Peace Keeping Mission to the country.

The recent discussion on Africa stressed peace and security issues to the relative neglect of poverty and economic issues. A balance needs to be achieved in these matters as conceptualized in the SG's report to the Security Council. The split between the economic and the political aspects of the UN's work remains a real problem.

In a related development, DESA will be contributing to the conference on LDCs, organized by UNCTAD, to be held in May 2001 in Brussels. There will be two PrepComs, in July 2000 and in March 2001, as well as expert group meetings. OSCAL will be contacting other divisions for their inputs in this regard.

Contact: Yvette Stevens, Tel. (212) 963-5084, E-mail: stevens@un.org


Information Technology Tops ECOSOC 2000 Agenda

This year, 2000, the High-level segment of the Economic and Social Council will focus on the theme of "Development and international cooperation in the 21st Century: the role of information technology in a knowledge-based economy". In preparation towards this, an informal Interagency Working Group has been established, under the coordination of DESC/DESA. It includes representatives of the World Bank, UNCTAD, UNDP, ILO, WIPO, UNESCO, UNFIP and UNU as well as the NY Office of the Regional Commissions.

A series of activities are planned in the run-up to and during the July 2000 session of ECOSOC and include:

  • A four-day meeting of a high-level expert panel, consisting of 15 experts that will be drawn from each of the five regional groups, representing governments, academia and business. This meeting will be held in April 2000 at the UN HQ in New York, to provide input to the report of the Secretary-General on Information Technology for Development.
  • A number of High-level panels on aspects of the theme will be held in New York between February and June 2000. These panels will be sponsored by the participating agencies. On 15 and 16 February, UNITAR will sponsor a panel on New Information and Communication Technologies directed to Member States' Representatives; in March, the World Bank will organize one on the Global Gateway ; at the end of April, UNU will have one on Information Technology and Economic Growth and Development . On 10 May, UNESCO will sponsor a panel on Universal Access to Information for Human Development and Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in Learning and Education for Development . In June, UNDP will have a panel on Affordable Access to Telecentres, Networking and E-Governance, E-Commerce, Partnerships Between Public and Private Sectors and NetAid and WIPO will have one on Information Technology for Development . DESA will organize the last one on 10 July on 50 Years of Technical Assistance: Information Technology Learning and Communications .
  • An ICT Fair, a Business Forum, and a few Ministerial Round Tables are being planned for the High-level segment of ECOSOC during 5-7 July 2000. Also, keynote addresses on the theme are being organized for delivery at United Nations intergovernmental bodies.

    At the Organizational Session held last week, Ambassador Wibisono of Indonesia, newly elected President of the Council, outlined proposals for the establishment of a focal point for information technology for development in the UN, and a trust fund for IT investment in developing countries.

    As a separate initiative, a proposal is being discussed at the intergovernmental level for ECOSOC to increasingly function as a council, as originally envisioned by the Charter. ECOSOC could be convened at short notice, like the Security Council, on a humanitarian emergency, or an economic emergency, such as the Asian financial crisis. Following this approach ECOSOC could also be convened periodically during the year as a forum for global economic dialogue.

    Contact: Sergei Kambalov, Tel: (212) 963 4751, Fax (212) 963 3351, E-mail: kambalov@un.org .


    Financing for Development Considered against Backdrop of Globalization and Interdependence

    The General Assembly agreed by consensus on 20 December 1999 to convene a "high-level intergovernmental event" in 2001 involving political decision-makers at least at the ministerial level. It will consider national, international and systemic issues relating to financing for development in a comprehensive manner, in the context of globalization and interdependence, and bearing in mind the full implementation of the outcome of major UN conferences and summits of the 1990s.

    The Assembly has established an intergovernmental Preparatory Committee whose Bureau will consult all stakeholders. In March, the Preparatory Committee will consider the form, venue, timing, duration and format of the final event. It will set the agenda, taking into account the scope and specific items identified by a working group of the Assembly that met last spring. It will also consider the participation in the preparatory process and the high-level event of the World Bank, IMF and WTO, as well as UNCTAD and the regional commissions, along with other stakeholders (notably NGOs and the private sector). DESA has begun consultations with the World Bank, IMF and WTO on the potential modalities of their participation. Initial contacts in Washington by staff led by Mr. Desai were positive. The Division of Policy Analysis for Development provides substantive support to the process. The possibility of utilizing staff from other stakeholders is also being explored.

    The first substantive session of the Preparatory Committee is scheduled for May 2000. An inclusive and continuing preparatory process will increase awareness and build international support and participation, while it deepens the substance of the final event.

    Information about Financing for Development can be accessed at: http://www.un.org/ffd/index.html


    Commission on the Status of Women Prepares for Beijing+5

    The 44th session of the Commission on the Status of Women will take place from 28 February to 2 March 2000. It will be followed from 3 to 17 March by the Commission on the Status of Women acting as the preparatory committee (PrepCom) for the special session of the General Assembly entitled "Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century".

    At the 44th session, the Commission will discuss the follow-up to the Fourth World Conference on Women: (a) review of mainstreaming in organizations of the United Nations system; (b) emerging issues, trends and new approaches to issues affecting the situation of women or equality between women and men; and (c) implementation of strategic objectives and action in the twelve critical areas of concern.

    The meeting will also discuss the comprehensive review and appraisal of the implementation of the Platform for Action. ECOSOC, in its resolution 1996/6 , adopted a multi-year work programme for the Commission. Accordingly, in 2000 the Commission will contribute to the comprehensive review and appraisal of the implementation of the Platform for Action. The general discussion is expected to focus on agenda items 3 and 4 of the Provisional Agenda (E/CN.6/2000/1) . A report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of the Platform for Action has been submitted to the Commission on the Status of Women acting as PrepCom for the special session (E/CN.6/2000/PC/2) .

    The PrepCom will discuss preparations for the General Assembly special session: "Women 2000: Gender Equality, Development and Peace for the Twenty-first Century" to be held from 5 to 9 June 2000. This special session will assess the implementation of the results of the Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing in 1995 and propose further actions and initiatives. The Commission on the Status of Women held its first session as preparatory committee for the Special Session during its 42nd session in March 1998. The second session of the CSW as preparatory committee was held from 15 to 19 March 1999.

    Two panel discussions will be held during the 44th session of the CSW, and the PrepCom, respectively. The first panel, entitled "Emerging issues, trends and new approaches to issues affecting women or equality between women and men", will be held on 1 March 2000. It will focus on new challenges and will reflect on relevant issues that need to be addressed in view of the full implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action. The panel will consist of five participants: two from the Member States, one from civil society, one from the UN system, and an expert from the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.

    The second panel will be held on 6 March and will deliberate on the "Outlook on gender equality, development and peace beyond the year 2000", thereby focussing on the way forward. Building upon the first panel's identification of emerging issues and challenges, the second panel will take a forward-looking approach so as to assist the PrepCom in gathering material for further strategies for implementation of the Platform. In particular, it will focus on strategies for addressing emerging trends and issues. It will consist of four panellists, two from Member States, and one each from the UN System and civil society.

    For more information on the panels and on CSW and the Beijing + 5 Special Session, please visit the DAW website:http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/csw

    Contact: Dorota Gierycz, Tel. (212) 963-5913, Fax (212) 963-3463,E-mail: gierycz@un.org

    Documentation:

  • Commission on the Status of Women Forty-fourth session, Provisional Agenda. E/CN.6/2000/1
  • Assessment of the implementation of the system-wide medium-term plan for the advancement of women, 1996-2001. E/CN.6/2000/3
  • Provisional agenda for the CSW Acting as the Preparatory Committee for the Special Session. E/CN.6/2000/PC/1
  • Report of the Secretary General on review and appraisal of the Implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action. E/CN.6/2000/PC/2
  • Comparative report of the Secretary-General on how different categories of projects and programmes of United Nations organizations are including women's interests and gender mainstreaming issues and on resources allocated in this regard. E/CN.6/2000/PC/3
  • Report of the Secretary-General on emerging issues containing additional material on further actions and initiatives for the preparation of the outlook beyond the year 2000. E/CN.6/200/PC/4
  • Further actions and initiatives to implement the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action. Proposed outcome document submitted by the Chairperson of the Preparatory Committee. E/CN.6/2000/PC/L.1
  • Summary of the WomenWatch Online Working Groups on the 12 Critical Areas of Concern. E/CN.6/2000/PC/CRP.1


    FORTHCOMING MEETINGS

    Commission for Social Development, 38th session
    New York, 8-17 February

    See lead article above.

    United Nations Technical Meeting on Population Ageing and Living Arrangements of Older Persons: Critical Issues and Policy Responses
    New York, 8-10 February

    As part of its ongoing work on the demographic, social and economic consequences of population ageing, the Population Division, with financial support from the United States National Institute on Aging, is convening the United Nations Technical Meeting on Population Ageing and Living Arrangements of Older Persons: Critical Issues and Policy Responses to be held at Headquarters from 8-10 February 2000.

    The meeting will bring together some 20 experts from different world regions to address: (a) the most pressing issues concerning population ageing and living arrangements of older persons and historical and cultural contexts; (b) the social process through which living arrangements of older persons influences the demand for formal and informal support systems; and (c) how Governments are responding to these needs. The meeting would also improve the knowledge base, identify priorities for future research and raise the long-term visibility of ageing-related issues.

    The organization of work, list of participants and invited papers are available in the Population Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs (room DC2-2040), as well as on the Web site of the Division, http://www.undp.org/popin/popdiv/untech/untech.htm

    Contact: B. Mirkin, Tel. (212) 963-3921, E-mail: mirkin@un.org .

    Forum on Critical Issues and Responses to Population Ageing
    New York, 8 February

    As part of the abovementioned meeting, the Population Division is organizing a Forum on Critical Issues and Responses to Population Ageing. The Forum will be moderated by Ms. Barbara Crossette, United Nations Bureau Chief for the New York Times. More information on the Forum can be found at:http://www.undp.org/popin/popdiv/untech/untech.htm

    Contact: Larry Heligman, Tel. (212) 963-3208, E-mail: heligman@un.org

    Commission for Sustainable Development - Ad Hoc Intersessional Working Groups
    New York, 22 February-3 March

    The meetings of the Ad Hoc Working Groups (AHWG) serve as preparatory meetings for the Commission on Sustainable Development's eighth session in April-May and facilitate the Commission in achieving tangible, action-oriented results on each of the agenda items.

    In accordance with the established practice, the work of the Ad Hoc Working Groups on the issues of Finance, Trade, Investment and Economic Growth (22-25 February) and on Integrated Planning and Management of Land Resources and Agriculture (28 February-3 March) would result in two papers:

  • Co-Chairs Summary , which will reflect the overall thrust of the discussion, the main positions stated by delegations and will record, when necessary, alternative views. These summaries will be the subject of a round of discussions in the AHWG but not negotiated and will be included as such in the report of the CSD as useful reference material outlining the state of international debate on a given issue.
  • Elements for decisions for future negotiations during the CSD . These papers should be action-oriented and concise. They will be studied by delegations/groups in the period between the AHWG and CSD8 with a view to formulating their positions in preparation for negotiations in the Drafting Groups during the Commission's session.

    During the Working Group on Integrated Planning and Management of Land Resources (28 February-3 March) special time will be allotted for initial presentations of papers prepared by major groups' organizing partners for the Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue Segment on Sustainable Agriculture (DESA News , Vol. 3, No.6, December 1999).

    Advance texts of the reports of the Secretary-General for consideration by the Working Groups and the Commission have been posted at: http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev .

    Contact for Finance, Trade, Investment and Economic Growth: Kenneth Ruffing, Tel. (212) 963-4669, Fax (212) 963-4260, E-mail: ruffing@un.org

    Contacts for Integrated Planning and Management of Land Resources and Agriculture: Anne Rogers, Tel. (212) 963-2476, Fax (212) 963-1795, E-mail: rogersa@un.org OR Zehra Aydin-Sipos. Tel. (212) 963-8811, Fax (212) 963-1267, E-mail: aydin@un.org

    ACC - Inter-agency Committee on Women and Gender Equality, Fifth session
    New York, 23-25 February

    The ACC Inter-agency Committee on Women and Gender Equality (IACWGE) will meet for its fifth session from 23 to 25 February 2000. Ms. Angela E.V. King, U.N. Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, is the Chairperson of the Committee.

    Of particular note are the preparations for the Beijing + 5 special session of the General Assembly to be held in June 2000 on which the IACWGE meeting will focus. It will discuss and finalize several inputs that it will contribute to the PrepCom and/or special session, including: (a) compilation of good practices on implementation of the Platform for Action and gender mainstreaming by the UN system; (b) study on budget codes and gender equality; (c) women in development/gender focal point study; (d) methodologies for gender impact analysis; and (e) compilation of gender training materials. Also on the agenda is field-level implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and gender mainstreaming through the review of common country assessments and UNDAF from a gender perspective.

    At the February 1999 meeting, it was agreed that the ACC would make a statement as input into the special session. The draft is now being finalized by ACC correspondents for submission to the PrepCom for Beijing+5.

    Reference Documentation:

  • Report of the Inter-Agency Committee on Women and Gender Equality on its fourth session (New York, 23 to 26 February 1999). ACC/1999/3

    Contact: Christine Brautigam, Tel: (212) 963-0535, E-mail: brautigam@un.org

    Commission on the Status of Women, Forty-fourth session
    New York, 28 February-17 March

    See article above: Commission on the Status of Women Prepares for Beijing+5 .

    Committee for Development Policy - Expert Group Meeting
    Paris, 29 February-2 March

    The Expert Group Meeting will carry out testing and simulation of the criteria for the designation of the least developed countries (LDCs), in particular the economic vulnerability index; it will also review the vulnerability profile of LDCs developed by UNCTAD.

    Contact: Anatoly Smyshlyaev, Tel. (212) 963-4687, Fax (212) 963-1061, E-mail: smyshlyaev@un.org .

    Statistical Commission, Thirty-first session
    New York, 29 February-3 March

    The Statistical Commission will hold its thirty-first session 29 February-3 March. The key items of the agenda are: (i) Economic statistics; (ii) Tourism Satellite Account; (iii) Environment statistics; (iv) Demographic, social and migration statistics; (v) Coordination of development indicators in the context of follow-up to United Nations conferences and summits, including capacity building; (vi) International economic and social classifications; (vii) The revised Handbook of Statistical Organisations; (viii) Review of other major developments in the UNSD work programme.; (ix) Coordination and integration of international statistical programmes; (x) Follow-up to the agreed conclusions of the Economic and Social Council's high level and coordination segments, and to its resolutions.

    Contact: Richard Roberts, Tel. (212) 963-6037, Fax (212) 963-9851, E-mail: roberts@un.org

    DESA - Panel 1 on "Emerging Issues, Trends and New Approaches to Issues Affecting Women or Equality Between Women and Men"
    New York, 1 March

    See article above on Commission on the Status of Women Prepares for Beijing+5 .

    DESA - Panel 2 on "Outlook on Gender Equality, Development and Peace Beyond the Year 2000"
    New York, 6 March

    See article above on Commission on the Status of Women Prepares for Beijing+5 .

    Open-ended Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Energy and Sustainable Development, First session
    New York, 6-10 March

    The Group was established at the seventh session of the Commission on Sustainable Development as a measure to prepare, facilitate and advance the discussion of complex energy issues which will be taken up at CSD9.

    Contact: Kyaw-Kyaw Shane, Tel. (212) 963-3264, Fax (212) 963-4340, E-mail: shane@un.org

    International Women's Day
    8 March

    For International Women's Day, a special event with the theme "Women Waging Peace" will take place on 8 March 2000, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon in Conference Room 4. The Secretary-General has been invited to open the event. The observance will take the form of a town hall meeting, and consist of a number of distinct segments, interspersed with video clips. The segments will give unique examples of women who are waging peace in each region of the world. It will aim to bring visibility to women's new vision and strategies that work for waging peace in the world and bring such strategies into the mainstream. The event will be a collaborative inter-agency effort, including DAW, DPI, UNIFEM, UNICEF, UNDP, DPKO, WHO, UNFPA and the Group on Equal Rights for Women in the UN, among others.

    Contact: Abigail Loregnard-Kasmally, Tel. (212) 963-3137, E-mail: loregnard-kasmally@un.org

    Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC)
    1st regular session (Organizational Committee - Part I)
    Rome, 8-10 March

    At the invitation of the World Food Programme and the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the spring session of ACC will take place in Rome on 6-7 April. The Organizational Committee will meet 8-10 March to prepare for the ACC meeting and on 10-11 April to finalize its summary conclusions.

    The Agenda for ACC is currently being finalized in consultation with Executive Heads but some of the issues which are expected to be dealt with are HIV/AIDS, security and safety of staff, as well as the results of the ACC review of its functioning and that of its subsidiary machinery. At its second regular session in 1999, ACC decided to launch that review. The task was assigned to Rafee Ahmed, former Associate Administrator of UNDP, Hans Blix, former Director General of IAEA, recently appointed head of UNMOVIC, and Franklin Thomas, former president of the Ford Foundation.

    The Review Team is undertaking in depth interviews with Executive Heads of the members of ACC and other senior officials.

    Contact: Eric Lacanlale, Tel. (212) 963-6889

    Working Conference "Towards a Global Election Information System"
    Loch Lomond, Scotland, 8-11 March

    Key agenda items : The Conference will discuss practical steps to advance the common interest in worldwide access, through the World Wide Web, to information about all aspects of elections.

    Contact: Guido Bertucci, Tel. (212) 963-5761, E-mail: bertucci@un.org

    General Assembly, 54th session (Resumed)
    New York, 13-31 March

    The General Assembly is scheduled to resume its 54th session from 13-31 March when the Fifth Committee will deal primarily with the UN scale of assessments. UNSD will continue to be responsible for the statistical servicing of the Committee.

    Contact: Cristina Hannig, Tel. (212) 963-4854, E-mail: hannig@un.org and Felizardo Suzara, Tel. (212) 963-4856, E-mail: suzara@un.org

    Fourteenth United Nations/International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) Seminar
    Vienna, 27-31 March

    The Seminar, organized jointly by United Nations and INTOSAI, will review the role of the Supreme Audit Institutions in Auditing Public Health Services. It is designed to support developing countries in strengthening their government and systems.

    Contact: Abdel Hamid Bouab, Tel. (212) 963-8406, E-mail: bouab@un.org .

    Commission on Population and Development, Thirty-third session
    New York, 27-31 March

    The session will discuss follow-up actions to the recommendations of the International Conference on Population and Development, including the special theme: population, gender and development and, the special session of the General Assembly for the review and appraisal of the implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development.

    Asia-Africa Forum III
    Kuala Lumpur, March

    This meeting is co-organized by the Governments of Malaysia, Japan, UNDP, and the Global Coalition for Africa. See also article under Meetings Held: Asia-Africa Business Forum .

    Committee for Development Policy, Second session
    New York, 3-7 April

    The Committee will discuss elements of the new development strategy; information technology for development; and the list of least developed countries.

    Contact: Anatoly Smyshlyaev, Tel. (212) 963 4687, Fax (212) 963 1061,E-mail: smyshlyaev@un.org .

    Preparatory Committee for the Special Session of the General Assembly on the Implementation of the Outcome of the World Summit for Social Development and Further Initiatives, Second session
    New York, 3-14 April

    See article above: Commission for Social Development Gears Up for Copenhagen Review .

    Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC), First regular session
    Rome, 6-7 April

    Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC)
    1st regular session (Organizational Committee (Part II))
    Rome, 10-11 April

    See note above on ACC .

    High-level Expert Group on Information Technology for Development
    New York, 17-20 April

    See article above: Information Technology Tops ECOSOC 2000 Agenda .

    Commission on Sustainable Development , Eighth session
    New York, 24 April-5 May

    Advance coverage of the CSD's work will be provided in the April issue of DESA News.


    TECHNICAL COOPERATION

    Sustainable Development

    Global Initiative on Transport Emissions (GITE)

    The Global Initiative on Transport Emissions (GITE) has been launched, in cooperation with the World Bank, as a follow-up to the International Roundtable on Transportation Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Development (Cairo, 5-7 Dec 1999) and as part of preparations for the ninth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development. This project is being undertaken with support from national governments, non-governmental organizations and the private sector.

    The aim of the GITE is to promote long-term, on-going learning activities and strategy development to reduce emissions of air pollutants attributable to the transportation sector in developing countries. Win-win cooperative arrangements between developing countries and international firms in the automotive and petroleum industries will be established significant with a view to reducing obstacles related to information, financing and government policies currently hindering the transfer of recent technical advances in the field of transport emissions reduction to developing countries. The focus of this project is to overcome institutional, financial, legal and policy barriers which prevent cleaner technology from being widely used in developing-country transport sectors.

    Initial activities include a series of regional workshops, to improve transport energy and emission information and indicators, and to encourage a transfer of technology from the developed countries' vehicle private sector to developing countries. Workshops under the first category are scheduled for Mexico City in April 2000 and in Austria in May 2000. Workshops planned under the second category include Rio de Janeiro in Fall 2000.

    Contact: Kathleen Abdalla, Tel. (212) 963-8416

    Women

    Technical Review Meeting on Gender Mainstreaming
    New York, 20-21 March

    The Division for the Advancement of Women, in collaboration with UNDP Africa Bureau, is organizing a technical review meeting to review the outcome of the project, "Assessment of Gender Mainstreaming and Empowerment of Women in Sub-Saharan Africa". Experts on gender mainstreaming and gender issues, governance, and poverty eradication in the context of Sub-Saharan Africa will participate as resource persons. They will review a final draft report prepared on the basis of data and information collected from selected countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. They are also expected to make policy recommendations which may be used to redirect the efforts of the UN system and development partners to mainstream a gender perspective into programmes and projects in the areas of governance and poverty eradication at the country level. A diversity of development actors, including UN agencies, governments, donor community, academia and civil society will participate in the meeting. Interested DESA staff are invited to participate.

    Contact: Fatiha Serour, Tel. (212) 963-8379, E-mail: serour@un.org OR Makiko Tagashira, Tel. (212) 963-4836, E-mail: tagashira@un.org

    Workshop on the Preparation of State Party Reports to be Submitted to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)
    Yaounde, April

    A two-week in-country training workshop will be conducted in Yaounde, Cameroon in April 2000. This is a follow-up to the sub-regional training workshop "Support to the Preparation of State Party Reports to be submitted to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)" held in Cotonou, Benin, 8 to 9 July 1999. The Yaounde workshop aims to assist the Government of Cameroon in the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discriminatation against Women. DAW will provide technical assistance for policy-makers to enhance the knowledge and understanding of the Convention, and step-by-step concrete advisory services for Government officials responsible for the preparation and submission of State Party reports.

    Contact: Fatiha Serour, Tel. (212) 963-8379, E-mail: serour@un.org ORMakiko Tagashira,Tel. (212) 963-4836, E-mail: tagashira@un.org

    * * * * *

    At the request of the Government of Yemen and UNDP (Sanaa), DAW undertook a programme review mission in Yemen, to assist in preparations for a review of gender mainstreaming in the Country Cooperation Framework (CCF), 1997-2001 . The full report of the mission, which took place from 28 November to 10 December 1999, is to be presented as one of the five assessment papers at a Country Review Meeting in March 2000.

    Contact: Fatiha Serour, Tel. (212) 963-8379, E-mail: serour@un.org ORDelawit Amelga-Aklilu, Tel. (212) 963-3395, E-mail: aklilud@un.org

    Statistics

    Standing Committee of the Caribbean Statisticians (SCCS)
    Twenty-fourth meeting
    Georgetown, 10-13 January

    The meeting was organized by the Caribbean Community Secretariat (CARICOM) and had as one of its main agenda items a proposed project "Strengthening Capacity in the Compilation of Statistics and Indicators for Conference Follow-up in the CARICOM region". The meeting reviewed a "Draft Implementation Plan" for the project which was prepared by UNSD on the basis of a needs assessment conducted by joint UNSD/CARICOM missions to nine Caribbean countries. The heads and senior officials of national statistics offices endorsed the Draft Implementation Plan and expressed their commitment to cooperate with UNSD and CARICOM to ensure the success and sustainability of the project.

    The project is a component of the programme of activities being implemented by DESA and funded under the Development Account Dividend, approved by the General Assembly at its Fifty-third session.

    Following the endorsed plan the project will in the next two years establish a Network of Experts in the region, to promote regional co-operation and sharing of experiences; provide training in the compilation of social/gender statistics and environment statistics through workshops; produce two regional publications on the social and environment situation in the region; and provide ad-hoc technical advisory services to countries upon request.

    The project team comprises: Deputy Director, Willem De Vries; Grace Bediako, Social Statistics, Reena Shah, Environment Statistics; Yacob Zewoldi, Demographic Statistics; and Elizabeth Queiroz, Information Technology, all of the Statistics Division.

    Public Administration

  • DPEPA will provide advisory services to Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Uganda. In Ethiopia, DPEPA Interregional Adviser will discuss the report on the Ethiopia Civil Service Reform Programme: ETH/97/013 with UNDP officials; in Kenya, the discussions will center on the design of the Government Programme in Somaliland; in Somalia, the interregional adviser will design a programme support document based on needs assessment; and in Uganda, he will design a national government programme (inter-agency agreement with UNOPS).

  • DPEPA will assist the Ministry of Public Administration of Trinidad and Tobago in the creation of a Public Service Learning Resource Centre, with the objective of transforming the public service into a more efficient and contemporary institution.

  • DPEPA will organize and hold a five-day workshop in The Havana, Cuba, on new innovations in the delivery of services to citizens (SAC) as part of the south-south exchange of experiences in public administration.

  • In Kuwait, DPEPA Interregional Adviser will act as Team leader of a mission comprising high-level representatives of the United Nations Development Programme and of the Government. The purpose of the mission is to carry out a country review in the field of public sector management, the results of which will serve as inputs to the next Country Cooperation Framework (CCF) of Kuwait.

  • In Ivory Coast, DPEPA will provide technical support for a capacity building programme in Abidjan.

  • The Division also participated in the DESA Needs Assessment Mission to Somaliland where it provided technical assistance and needs assessment in the field of fiscal policy and tax collections.

    * * * * *

    A new function has been created to assist EC-ESA members in achieving synergies in their technical cooperation activities, particularly those under Section 21 of the regular budget. It would also entail the facilitation of cooperation among EC-ESA entities and the donor community. It is hoped that new and better services might be delivered to developing countries as a result, and that new sources of funding for technical cooperation would materialize. Ms. Béatrice Labonne will be carrying out this function from Geneva. Two initial areas of interest to regional commissions are work in the Mediterranean Basis and in Central Asia.

    * * * * *

    A new page has been posted for the technical cooperation activities of the Department. It provides an overview of DESA's approach to technical cooperation, a comprehensive portfolio of projects, organized by sector and countries, and a Register of Advisors. There are also links to other UN providers of development assistance. The address is: http://esa.un.org/techcoop/

    Contact: Sarah Bordas, Tel. (212) 963-9492, Fax (212) 963-4444, E-mail: bordas@un.org

    FORTHCOMING PUBLICATIONS

    Women

    DAW will publish a training manual entitled, Assessing the Status of Women: A guide to Reporting under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women . The manual is a comprehensive guide to the preparation of State's party's reports on the implementation of the Convention. The manual is intended for use by government officials, other UN agencies, and NGOs/CSOs.

    Contact: Jane Connors, Tel. (212) 963-3162, E-mail: connors@un.org OR Makiko Tagashira, Tel. (212) 963-4836, E-mail:tagashira@un.org

    RECENT PUBLICATIONS

    Statistics

    Monthly Bulletin of Statistics
    ST/ESA/STAT/SER.Q/323 - Vol. LIII - No. 11
    November 1999

    Special features in this issue: Index numbers of world industrial production: By branches of industry and by regions; Construction of new buildings; Earnings in manufacturing; Index numbers of producers prices and wholesale prices.

    ST/ESA/STAT/SER.Q/324 - Vol. LIII - No. 10
    December 1999

    Special features in this issue: Selected series of world statistics; Petroleum products: Production; Trade conversion factors; Manufactured goods exports: Unit value index; quantum index; value.

    Contact: Gloria Cuaycong, Tel: (212) 963-4865, Fax (212) 963-0623, E-mail: cuaycong@un.org

    Statistical Yearbook , Forty-third issue
    ST/ESA/STAT/SER.S/19
    Sales No. E/F.98.XVII.1

    The Statistical Yearbook is an annual international compilation of social and economic statistics for over 200 countries and areas of the world. It is organized in four parts: world and region summary, population and social statistics, economic activity, and international economic relations. This issue of the yearbook presents 83 tables in the field of demographic and social statistics, national accounts, finance, labour force, wages and prices, agriculture, industry, transport and communications, energy, environment, science and technology, international merchandise trade and tourism. It covers, in general, a ten-year period 1986-1995 or 1987-1996, with data available as of 30 September 1998.

    Contact: Gloria Cuaycong, Tel: (212) 963-4865, Fax (212) 963-0623, E-mail: cuaycong@un.org

    National Accounts Statistics: Main Aggregates and Detailed Tables, 1995
    Part I & II
    ST/ESA/STAT/SER.X/24
    Sales No. E.99.XVII.7

    The publication contains detailed national accounts estimates for most countries or areas of the World for selected years between 1984 and 1995. The estimates for each country or area are presented in separate chapters with uniform table headings and classifications as recommended in the United Nations System of National Accounts (SNA). A summary of the SNA conceptual framework, classifications and definitions are included in the publications.

    The publication contains statistics on national accounts aggregates and detailed variables such as gross domestic product, national income, savings, private and government consumption, transactions of institutional sectors, etc. It is a valuable source of information on the economic situation of countries.

    Contact: Felizardo Suzara, Tel: (212) 963-4856, Fax (212) 963-1374, E-mail: suzara@un.org

    A Systems Approach to National Accounts Compilation - A Technical Report
    ST/ESA/STAT/SER.F/77
    Sales No. E.99.XVII.10

    This technical report is part of a series of national accounts handbooks in support of the implementation of the 1993 System of National Accounts (SNA). It has been written both for users and producers of national accounts information. Its purpose is to facilitate a dialogue between these groups on the following two questions:

    1. What is the national accounts system/framework that is appropriate for a country i.e. which elements of the 1993 SNA (e.g. accounts, tables, classifications, etc.) are to be given priority in the compilation?

    2. How is the resulting framework of national accounts information to be compiled i.e. what mechanisms of basic data collection, estimation techniques, data processing etc. have to be set up to yield the desired result in the most effective manner.

    The report, thus, presents efforts of the UN Statistics Division to define a systematic approach to the design and the effective realization of a national accounting framework for a country. It discusses the statistical requirements and analytical features for increasingly complex national accounting frameworks (including certain satellite extensions), providing thus a basis for a rational comparison between statistical cost and analytical and policy benefits of alternative options.

    The report also develops the concept of national accounts and supporting data compilation cycles. It argues, that by introducing the time dimension it is possible to deal with the problem of growing data needs for an enlarged system of national accounts, without imposing undue pressures on the limited human and financial resources that are generally available. An annex to the report presents a summary of practical country experiences that UNSD acquired, when working with countries on projects to develop national accounting.

    Contact: Stefan Schweinfest, Tel: (212) 963-4849, Fax (212) 963-1374, E-mail: schweinfest@un.org

    Public Administration

    Governance World Watch

    Issues 10, 11 and 12 of the monthly news review have been issued.

    Contact: Haiyan Qian, Tel. (212) 963-3393, E-mail: qianh@n.org .

    MEETINGS HELD

    Francophone Conference under the theme "Women, Power and Development"
    Luxembourg, 2-4 February

    The meeting was attended by high level officials representing the fifty six Francophone countries in Africa, Europe and North America. The Conference, which was one of the preparatory meetings for the Beijing +5 special session, produced a Common Declaration on Women, Power and Development.

    Contact: Fatiha Serour, Tel. (212) 963-8379, E-mail: serour@un.org

    Inter-Agency Committee on Sustainable Development (IACSD), 15th Meeting
    New York, 24-25 January

    Among the issues discussed were the implications for IACSD and its task managers of recent developments with regard to the successor arrangements for the IDNDR, namely the establishment of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) Task Force. The Committee endorsed the terms of reference for the proposed Environmental Management Group (EMG) which will now be included in the report of the Secretary-General to be submitted to the resumed 54th session of the GA. The Committee also extensively discussed regarding the preparations for the ten-year review of UNCED in 2002. It emphasized the need for the UN system to provide strong leadership in formulating relevant policy proposals and stimulating interest, both at a political, as well as general public levels. It also discussed preparations for CSD 8 and 9. The Committee also considered recent progress in the implementation of the GPA. The reports of the Subcommittee on Water Resources and that of the ACC Subcommittee on Oceans and Coastal Areas were also considered. The next meeting of the IACSD will be in September 2000.

    The report as adopted by the Committee (ACC/2000/1) can be accessed through http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/iacsd.htm or http://acc.unsystem.org/-subsidiary.bodies/iacsd.htm .

    Contact: Karina Gerlach, Tel. (212) 963-5858

    Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)
    New York, 17 January-4 February

    The twenty-second session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) took place at UN Headquarters in New York from 17 January to 4 February 2000. The Committee reviewed the reports of Belarus, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Germany, India, Jordan, Luxembourg and Myanmar. The Pre-Session Working Group for the twenty-third session took place from 7 to 11 February 2000.

    CEDAW's twenty-third session will take place from 12 to 30 June 2000. The Committee has invited eight States Parties to present their reports. Subject to their confirmation, the countries expected to present their reports are Austria, Cameroon, Cuba, Iraq, Lithuania, Maldives, Republic of Moldova and Romania. The Pre-Session Working Group for the twenty-fourth session will take place from 3 to 7 July 2000.

    With Niger being the latest country to ratify or accede to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women on 8 October 1999, the number of States parties to the Convention became 165. Adopted in 1979 and opened for signature in March 1980, the Convention is now among the international human rights treaties with the largest number of ratifications.

    Contact: Jane Connors, Tel: (212) 963-3162, E-mail: connorsj@un.org ORPhilomena Kintu, Tel: (212) 963-3153, E-mail: kintup@un.org

    First Regional Review Meeting of the Tokyo Agenda for Action
    Lusaka, 23-25 November 1999

    As a co-organizer of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), the Office of the Special Coordinator for Africa and the Least Developed Countries (OSCAL), participated in the first Regional review Meeting of the Tokyo Agenda for Action in Lusaka, Zambia, 23-25 November 1999, with participants from 22 eastern and southern African countries, 5 Asian countries, 28 donor and international organizations and 16 Non-Governmental Organizations and others. The objectives were to assess progress in the implementation of the Tokyo Agenda for Action in the area of social development against set targets, and to share experience and knowledge in implementing priority actions. Other co-organizers were the Governments of Zambia and Japan, UNDP and GCA. OSCAL was represented by Yvette Stevens, Special Coordinator, and Abraham Joseph, Senior Adviser.

    The following themes were discussed: basic education for all; technical and vocational education; equity and education with emphasis on gender equity; MCH and reproductive health services; access to safe water; infectious and parasitic diseases with emphasis on HIV/AIDS; statistical capacity building for education and health policy formulation; and debt relief for development which, participants noted, has improved through enhanced HIPC initiative. The European Union representative announced that through the Lomé arrangement, 1 billion euros will be allocated for some social programmes.

    Contact: Abraham Joseph, Tel. (212) 963-4839, Fax (212) 963-3892, E-mail: josepha@un.org

    Regional Symposium on Socio-economic Policies during Macro-economic Stabilization in Countries with Economies in Transition
    Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, 9-11 November 1999

    At the Symposium, organized by the Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD) and focusing on the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the current state of countries with economies in transition was discussed and recommendations were made on future socio-economic policies.

    Even though the countries involved are at different stages of change, the social cost of the reforms is evident in all of them. These social costs - high unemployment, declining real incomes, wages and pensions, increasing income gaps, social exclusion and deteriorating services - have fallen disproportionately on the poorest individuals and groups.

    The absence of sustainable economic growth and the resulting lack of funds to implement social programmes are a major obstacle to the elaboration and implementation of social policies by the States of the region. Revitalizing such growth should be a priority. This does not imply that essential expenditures on human development should be postponed; investing in human capital is a necessary stimulus to growth and it affects the direction, speed, and success of change.

    Awareness has grown that change must be accompanied by an active and comprehensive social policy that goes beyond compensatory programmes and occasional measures which "ease the pain" of the transformation process. Achieving sustainable economic growth requires giving priority to securing employment growth and putting human beings at the centre of development. This in turn requires the full integration of social and economic policy measures.

    The 1990s witnessed on widening gap between countries in the region, but increased poverty has affected them all although with varying degrees of severity. In addition to the increase in "income poverty", there was one in so-called "human poverty".

    Unemployment has emerged as a new and serious problem. Overall in central and eastern Europe, labour markets exhibit high, steady unemployment rates and an increase in long-term unemployment. Labour markets in the countries of the CIS are characterized by fewer terminations (relative to the decline in GDP) and large hidden unemployment.

    There was a change in the region's post-1995 employment policies: a more active approach was embraced and fewer terminations more rigorous criteria for unemployment benefits were introduced in most countries; increasingly, benefits are tied to an active labour market policy, encouraging more active job seeking and participation in training programmes. Among active employment programmes the most commonly practised are subsidized schemes for vulnerable groups and support for small businesses.

    Building inclusive societies is difficult, particularly for countries facing major economic, political and social transformations. Despite democratization, civic engagement has remained minimal in many countries. Several social indicators point at a process of social disintegration. The cohesion of family life and its capacity to care for children have been substantially weakened, and cases of child abandonment, youth delinquency, and suicide have increased. Discrimination and violence against women have worsened in many societies and countermeasures have, to date, been inadequate. In a number of countries the adult crime rate has soared.

    While some Governments are striving to keep social expenditure at the pre-transition level, most can't. Even when roughly the same budget proportion was allocated to those needs, there was a steep drop in absolute terms. The central trend in social policy after 1995 has been toward a more goal-oriented protection system.

    At the Symposium, a number of priorities for action were recommended. First, employment growth and poverty reduction should be central goals of macro-economic policy, together with economic growth and low inflation. Second, social protection should be an instrument of progressive income redistribution. This may require reform of social protection systems to ensure support for the poor, elderly, disabled and other vulnerable groups. Thirdly, education and health care should be open to all including vulnerable groups and organizations to represent such groups should be established. The fourth recommendation concerns mobilization of additional resources for social development by reforming tax systems, improving the efficiency of tax administration, restructuring the allocation of resources among sectors and attracting foreign direct investment and support for social development. Fifth, governance over, and effective use of, available financial resources must improve. Sixth, institutional continuity and state capacity are indispensable for policy stability and predictability, and for prioritizing reform measures. The State has a vital role as a regulator and as a provider of essential public goods, and in order to increase popular support for social programmes and fight corruption, transparency and accountability are needed at all government levels. Seventh, ministries and governmental and non-governmental agencies must agree, on such issues as the goals of social policies, the level of public revenues and expenditures, and the structure of social expenditures, for a coherent sustainable development strategy. Eighth, national and regional differences must be taken into account and special attention has to be given to depressed countries and regions with widespread poverty and unemployment. Finally, there is an urgent need to enhance and re-orient the capacity of national statistical systems for better monitoring of social trends.

    Contact: Marisha Meurs, Tel. (212) 963-3640

    Asia-Africa Business Forum
    Kuala Lumpur, 25-30 October 1999

    As a co-organizer of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), the Office of the Special Coordinator for Africa and the Least Developed Countries (OSCAL) participated in the Asia-Africa Business Forum held in Kuala Lumpur from 25-30 October 1999. The other co-organizers of the Forum were the Special Unit for Technical Cooperation Among Developing Countries (SU/TCDC) of UNDP, the Governments of Malaysia and Japan, the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), and the Malaysian South-South Cooperation Berhad (MASSCORP). About 350 business representatives from 25 African and 6 Asian countries participated. Oscal was represented at the Forum by Emmanuel Goued Njayick and Abraham Joseph.

    The Business Forum was organized at two levels. The first one included seminars on policies and incentives provided by the African countries for trade and investment. The second level was the simultaneous one-to-one meetings of African and Asian trade and investment representatives. OSCAL played an important role to steer the discussions in the seminars and also prepared inputs on the outcome of the Forum for presentation at the third Asia-Africa Forum to be held in Kuala Lumpur in March 2000.

    The outcome of the meeting was the signing of about thirty Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) between Asian and African countries which produced 24.5 million dollars worth of contracts.

    Contact: Abraham Joseph, Tel. (212) 963-4839, Fax (212) 963-3892, E-mail: josepha@un.org

    NEW ON THE WEB

    Major new expansion of the web presence of the Department include a web page on technical co-operation. (http://esa.un.org/techcoop - see note in the Technical cooperation section), a set of new top pages for the Statistics Division (http://www.un.org/Depts/unsd/global.htm ) and an entirely reworked and expanded Divisional page for the Division for Public Economics and Public Administration (http://www.un.org/esa/governance/ ).